North Carolina Universities Team Up To Combat Cancer

In an effort to fight cancer, North Carolina universities unite.

The North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the University of North Carolina’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center have partnered to help combat non-Hodgkin lymphoma in canine and human patients.

The disease is biologically similar in canines and humans, but is much easier to narrow down problematic areas in a dog’s genome because the genetic variation among dogs of the same breed is so much lower than genetic variation in humans, according to the universities.

“Non-Hodgkin lymphoma ranks fifth in cancer deaths among human patients, and the mortality rate for dogs is even higher,” said Steven Suter, VMD, Ph.D., Dipl. ACVIM, professor of clinical sciences, who will help lead the NC State component. “By combining the strengths of our programs, we expect to enhance our understanding of the disease and speed improved treatments for people and pets. This is another example of ‘One Health,’ the concept of comparative medicine that acknowledges human and animal health relies on a common pool of medical and scientific knowledge and is supported by overlapping technologies and discoveries.”

Labs from both institutions will study tissue samples from human and canine patients. The team said they hope to create a genomic “profile” of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that will give veterinarians and oncologists greater insight into the disease’s biology, and improve their ability to diagnose the illness early.

The team is recruiting dogs diagnosed with lymphoma to collect tissue samples for study. Dog owners may receive $1,000 for their pet’s participation.

Veterinarians interested in referring a case can email Dr. Suter at steven_suter@ncsu.edu.

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